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Why Should High School Students Learn Java?

Since its introduction in 1995, Java has remained among the most prominent coding languages and development platforms. It is currently utilized by 90% of all Fortune 500 companies and runs on over 50 billion devices worldwide.

Essentially every computer is capable of running Java. Although it is among the more complex coding languages to learn, the benefits outweigh any initial difficulties.

Students who learn Java in high school will be better prepared for college and entering the workforce. Even students who aren’t intending to use their Java coding skills to build a career can also use it as a fun and innovative hobby that is sure to improve their critical and creative thinking skills. It can also be a lucrative talent for students who need scholarships or internships for college. There is no shortage of advantages for high schoolers who learn to code with Java.

Future Careers in Java

Although Java has been around for over 25 years, it continues to be one of the most in-demand programming languages available. Therefore, there are still plenty of lucrative employment opportunities within the field. Java is used in areas such as game development, web development, and desktop app development, though this is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do with skills in Java. The best Java developers are the ones who can keep up with the latest developments in the language and are enthusiastic about doing so. Java has an update roughly every six months, which may be an overwhelming prospect to some.

There are several reasons why Java remains ever popular. It is compatible with multiple platforms and devices. Because it has been used for so long (especially when compared to other programming languages), it is supported by a large community of users that can help troubleshoot almost any problem. The language has been thoroughly cataloged so you can figure out most challenges that come your way. There is a reason that Java has thrived for the past 25 years and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Java being such a consistent force in the tech industry means that there is no shortage of job opportunities available. The average annual salary of a Java Developer is around $100,000, though this may fluctuate depending on where you live. Depending on your level of education and experience, there are tens of thousands of jobs currently available in Java Development. The language has a widespread influence and is used across nearly every sector of the job market. 

AP Computer Science

High school students who are interested in computer programming can get a head start by taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science course in high school. The exam taken at the end of this course is the only College Board accredited test where students write a computer program from start to finish. This exam has only tested students in Java since 2003 and is unlikely to change languages soon. The number of students who take the exam is also on the rise—over 70,000 participated in 2020 whereas in 2015 that number was under 50,000. 

Taking the AP Computer Science exam can lead to exciting college and career opportunities. The AP Program currently partners with both Amazon and Google to fund scholarships for high school students who hope to enter the field of computer science after graduation. The Amazon Future Engineer program awards $10,000 to high school seniors who want to continue their education in computer science or a related field. There are many Google scholarships available to students all over the world. Two apply to students residing in the United States: the Google Lime Scholarship for students with disabilities and the Generation Google Scholarship for students of minority backgrounds.

There are also internships available through the AP Program. An eight-week program at Facebook University is offered for college freshmen and sophomores who come from backgrounds that are typically marginalized in the computer science field. The program takes place from May to August and pairs students with a Facebook Engineer who will mentor them throughout the internship. There are also multiple internship programs available through Google. They include an IT internship, a software engineering internship, and business internships for students planning on getting their MBA.

USA Computing Olympiad

High school students who are proficient in Java might be interested in participating in the USA Computing Olympiad, which is the most prominent computing competition for high schoolers in the world, though younger students can participate as well. While the USACO allows students to submit solutions to problems in a variety of languages, Java is one of the recommended languages for several reasons. Java runs quicker than other languages like Python and is compatible with what is taught in AP Computer Science. The contest is offered four times per year and there is no limit to the number of times you can participate, so students who enter each competition have the opportunity to quickly hone their skills and build their knowledge. 

Participating in the USACO can benefit students in many ways. Primarily, it will improve your college application. This is especially true now that some schools are no longer requiring standardized tests like the SAT, so students need to stand out from the crowd in other ways. The USACO competition also provides a solid foundation for college coursework in computer science and engineering. 

Students who are interested in learning more about this competition can check out their resources page. This includes recommendations for books and websites that will help younger students learn to code. The page also has a link to problems from previous USACO competitions so students can be well-prepared if they choose to compete. 

Java Boosts Your Brain

Learning Java can keep your brain active and strong. Research has shown that learning a programming language like Java activates the brain’s communication center, meaning that learning to code could help people communicate in new and more efficient ways. Learning Java also takes a lot of self-discipline; developing the patience to focus on such a rigorous process will almost certainly spill over into other areas of a student’s life, making them better able to adopt other positive habits. Finally, the challenges that Java presents build new neural networks in the brain and keep your mind sharp.

Learn Java at NextGen’s Summer Classes

If you’re looking for Java classes that are specifically geared toward high school students, you can check out NextGen Bootcamp’s Java classes for high schoolers. Students can take in-person Java courses at their location in New York City or attend a live online Java class from the comfort of their homes. You’re also welcome to take a look at NextGen’s entire catalog of coding classes for high school students to see a complete course list. 

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